Sexual Harassment and Discrimination at Workplace
Sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace are problems that have
persisted for a long time, despite growing awareness and efforts to stop them.
In the modern workplace, sexual harassment of all kinds still occurs, and it can
have a negative impact on the well-being and career success of not only women
but also men and third-gender individuals.
Even males can fall prey to harassment at workplace it can be in different forms
we often neglect males from the purview that they can also be a victim of sexual
harassment certain situation like asking for sexual favors from the wife of his
employee, intimidating the male employee sexual favors through his wife to the
one in higher authority.
People from LGBTQAI+ community also fall victim of sexual, physical, mental
harassment at workplace. Bullying, mocking them is usually a very common
practice and norm in the society which we can easily witness in our everyday
In this blog, we are going to examine the prevalence of sexual harassment of
females in the workplace today and the significance of addressing this problem
to establish safe and welcoming work environments.
When employees are treated unfairly at work because of their color, gender, age,
religion, or disability, this is known as workplace discrimination.
It can appear in many different ways, such as unfair compensation, being passed
over for advancements, or receiving offensive remarks or jokes. Employees who
experience workplace discrimination may experience serious consequences, such as
reduced job satisfaction, low morale, and issues with their mental health.
What is Sexual Harassment?Sexual harassment is described as any unwanted sexual behavior or conduct that
makes a person feel threatened, frightened, or insulted. Unwanted sexual
advances, remarks, jokes, gestures, and physical touch are only a few examples
of sexual harassment's numerous manifestations. It can take place between
coworkers, managers, or even clients or customers.
In terms of behavior, "sexual harassment" includes such things as unwanted
sexually motivated behavior (either explicitly or by implication) as:
Physical contact and advances, a demand or request for sexual favors, sexually
charged comments, showing pornography and any other unwanted physical, verbal,
or non-verbal act portraying sexual characteristics.
Sexual harassment can have a substantial negative effect on victims, who may
experience mental discomfort, anxiety, despair, and a drop in performance at
work. It can also result in a hostile workplace and reputational harm to a
The power relationships involving the innocent victim and the harasser provide
one of the obstacles in resolving sexual harassment in modern workplaces.
Because the harasser frequently has a more powerful position or greater clout at
work, it can be challenging for the person being harassed to open up or disclose
the act of harassment in afraid of reprisal or other unfavorable outcomes. This
disparity in authority can encourage a climate of silence and make harassment
more likely to occur.
The normalization and commodification of sexual harassment is another problem.
Some could brush it off as innocent flirtation or jokes, or blame it on the
"boys will be boys" mentality. However, it is crucial to understand that sexual
abuse is unacceptable under any circumstances and is a breach of a person's
rights and dignity.
Evolution of law regarding it:The problem of gender bias is widespread throughout the country and on an
international scale. "Sexual harassment" is one such instance of gender
discrimination, and it frequently occurs at work. Such sexual harassment of
anyone goes against the spirit of Indian Constitutional Articles 14, 15, and 21.
The Constitution also calls for the abolition of this gender bias under Articles
14 and 15, and Article 21 highlights the importance of the most crucial
fundamental rights, namely "the right to life and the right to personal
The Supreme Court finally defined "sexual harassment" in 1997 and ruled that a
woman had a basic right to work in an ambience void of this type of behavior. It
also established rules mandating that "sexual harassment" in the workplace be
thoroughly investigated by the institution's leader, whether they run a public
or private organization. Based on this ground-breaking decision, the MWCD
approved the "SHW at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act,
2013" 16 years later.
In the case of "Vishakha v. State of Rajasthan", the Supreme Court
recognized "sexual harassment" at work in India. The Supreme Court made
references to several Constitutional clauses that envisioned judicial
intervention as being necessary to eradicate this social crime. It made
reference to "Art. 15 which prohibits inequality on grounds of religion,
ethnicity, caste, gender or place of birth." "Art. 51, which provides for the
promotion of global security and peace. "Art. 42, which guarantees for
reasonable and humane working conditions and maternity leave. Every person has a
fundamental obligation to uphold the Constitution and foster unity under Art.
India, a CEDAW guarantor, made sure to incorporate Article 11 of CEDAW into its
laws. The PoSH Act, which was created based on these principles and approved in
2013, was a significant legislative reform, even for labor laws. The current
study aims to ascertain the origins of "sexual harassment" (at the office), the
status of women in Indian society, a thorough examination of the Vishakha
Guidelines, and a critique of the recently passed Act. Finally, the study
supports the need to keep an eye on the current situation and advance the
current legislation towards stronger enforcement.
Policies and Preventive Measures to be taken:The fight against sexual harassment in today's workplace must involve
organizations. Employers should put in place explicit procedures and guidelines
for reporting and dealing with sexual harassment, give all workers training and
education, and have a zero-tolerance policy towards such behavior. In order for
victims to feel encouraged to speak up without being afraid of consequences, it
is essential to establish a secure and supportive environment.
In their quest for justice, survivors of sexual misconduct should also receive
assistance. In addition to giving them access to private resources and support
services, they should be urged to report instances of harassment. In order to
look into and address complaints of sexual harassment, employers should respond
quickly and appropriately. This includes disciplining the harasser.
In addition, bystander action is essential in the fight against sexual
harassment. Coworkers who observe harassment events should speak up and support
the victim rather than keeping quiet. This can aid in ending the cycle of
harassment and promoting an environment in the workplace where respect and
accountability are valued.
To address the underlying causes of sexual harassment, societal reforms are
required in addition to organizational measures. This entails combating gender
stereotypes and norms that support detrimental attitudes towards women,
advancing gender equality at work, and making offenders accountable for their
deeds through judicial and social processes. Employers must take action to stop
and handle these problems while fostering a secure and welcoming workplace that
supports inclusivity and diversity.
The organization should foster a safe and effective work ambience for their
workers by fostering an attitude of respect and zero-tolerance for sexual
harassment and discrimination.
In conclusion, it is critical to handle sexual harassment head-on because it is
still a serious problem in today's workplace. Workers must be motivated and
empowered to speak up and report instances without fear of retaliation, and
organizations must take action to prevent and address sexual harassment. We can
work towards a workplace culture where every individual is treated in a
dignified and respectful manner and has the chance to succeed by establishing
safe, welcoming workplaces where harassing is not tolerated. We can work
together to eliminate sexual harassment from the workplace in the future.
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